Last year, I had an itch to try out “The Admiral’s Game” campaign, especially as re-done by Jeremy Gray and Dale McKee, and reported on in “Day of the Eagle Comes Early” on ADB’s forum.

So, I wrote up a new set of campaign rules, reverse-engineering everything I could from that, and adding a fair number of new things besides. I pitched it to Mark, and talked him into the general concept. My original idea had been to pair off a couple empires contemporary to our main group games (i.e., Y161), and advance the group and the campaign in tandem, but… Mark eventually gravitated towards seeing the Carnivons in action, especially as he’d been going through the General War-era version of them in Module C6.

I don’t have that, but I (and Mark) do have Y1, where they were first introduced. In addition, I had recently read an update for The Admiral’s Game for the Early Years in Captain’s Log #39, where the Federation has to cycle through the various member navy’s ships in the W-era.

So, the campaign got set at the close of the W-era, with the Y-series ships about to come in, with a fight between the Carnivons and the Federation.

Now… “historically” they did not border each other, but there doesn’t seem to be any big technology mis-matches going on, and if they had, it’s not too hard to believe the Federation would quickly get fed up with the constant raids by various “packs” and feel a need to use their new navy to mount an expedition into their space to put an end to the raids on far-flung colonies and merchant vessels. So, I am playing the Federation, which is attacking the Carnivons.

This campaign is starting in Y77, and each strategic turn in it takes one year. One ship can be a prototype each turn, with cruisers available as prototypes one year before their service date, and smaller ships two years. The structure is explicitly allowing me to build a Federation YCA in the second turn, but we’ll both be fielding mostly W-series ships for a long time to come.

Both sides have six each FF, DD, CL, CA, plus 2xCC and 2xDN. On the first turn, the Carnivons do not have access to half of these (strategic surprise). We both get EPV for new ships, refits, and such, but we must build 2xFF and 2xDD each turn, and then get to do what we like with the leftover budget.

Carnivons:

This canine-like species historically existed between the Kzintis and Lyrans, and getting rid of them was one of the few things they’ve ever agreed on. They generally never developed any stable central authority, with lots of temporary ‘packs’ raiding their neighbors.

Their heavy weapons are Death Bolts (a type of drone with annoying problems reloading), and Heel Nippers, a nearly point-blank weapon that automatically destroys one warp box if it hits, and causes the ship to miss its next move, and turn in place. That last is bad enough, but on the early underpowered ships, the idea of guaranteed power hits through shields is scary. In the Y-era, they get Disruptor Cannons, which is a two-turn version of the familiar Disruptor Bolt.

At first, they had somewhat limited ship classes, but Y2 and Y3 built them out so they have CCs and DNs like everyone else. They hit the Y-era slightly later, but they start with the smaller ships, and should be able to eventually refit all the W-series ships up.

Star Fleet:

I’m attacking as the United Star Fleet of the Federation of Planets. As these are all ships converted to tactical warp from the various member planet’s navies, I will be learning to deal with six different design styles. Also, my new W-series ships must cycle through the six different navies, so I can’t just pick a favorite design in each class and go straight to that.

Earth, Alpha-Centauran, Orion, and Rigelian: These all use the good old photon torpedo (though there’s no overloads, and, worse, no proximity fuses, in this era). Phaser coverage and other details vary from fleet to fleet, but I have no feel for common design elements yet. [The Orion national guard ships never actually directly served in the Federation’s early wars, but they were part of Star Fleet, and I figure it’s the only way we’ll ever get around to seeing them in action.]

Andorian: These ships use drones as the heavy weapon. They’re fairly close to Kzinti drones, but not identical, but the only direct-fire weapons are phasers.

Vulcan: Their CA and DD have a pair of special sensors (the only things outside of a base with them in this era; this is important, as I have a bunch of base battles in my future). The others have the usual photon torpedo, and they all mount phaser-1s (everyone else is stuck with ph-2s on their ships in this era).

The nomenclature for the Star Fleet ships is inconsistent (largely in Y1), and I’ve cleaned them up for reporting here (so, they are all prefixed with “W”, and the Orion ships are WOx). Also, trying to back-port earlier NCC numbers is a mess, so I’ve figured that the initial Star Fleet ships got sequential “SF” numbers as they were converted and commissioned into the fleet. Once new ships are built in the Y-series, then they start using “Naval Construction Contract” numbers.

Y77

So, we’ve assembled the fleet lineups, done the initial builds, and finally assigned everything to the eight regions of the first defense line.

We’re trying a system where the Command Rating of a ship is multiplied by 35 times the current year/100, and it can command that many EPV of other ships (this means a CR 10 dreadnought can command 270 EPV this turn, and 273, next time…). This maxes fleets out somewhere around six-seven ships, and I (with all my ships available) couldn’t fill them out.

Half of the defender’s fleet is in reserve (not including his five new ships), which gets me a fairly free pass to get through this defense line, and why Mark is so thin on the ground right now. This will change. Any ships of mine that disengage this turn will be unavailable next time.

Region 1: Two ships on each side permanently damaged, and the YBS destroyed:
Planets of Tripoli Y77 Region 1

Region 3: Instead of playing another lopsided base battle, we mirrored the approximate results of Regions 1 & 5, with the YBS destroyed and Beast of Beasts and USS Ferocity losing all armor.

Region 4: Mark’s force was completely outmatched, so it was surrendered without a fight.

Region 5: One ship on each side took serious damage, the YBS was destroyed, and USS Mare Serenitatis took two of eight armor damage.
Planets of Tripoli Y77 Region 5

Region 6: My force was not quite minimal in hopes of catching a pair of FFs. Instead, the Carnivons had a heavier force, and I disengaged to Reserve instead of risking my ships.

Region 7: My force was minimal so I could concentrate elsewhere, so I surrendered that region without a fight. And those two ships will be in Reserve next time.

Region 8: Short skirmish that did nothing beyond a few shield boxes:
UR1 Y77 Planets of Tripoli Region 8